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John Van Olden

John Van Olden


John Van Olden has been working with dogs his entire professional life.  His first job, at age 14, was working with a local dog groomer, and while being far from easy, it was a job he kept through High School. He had an 8-year military career as a Military Police Dog Handler and Trainer (of course!). After the military, while still attending college, John started his first business, Golden State K-9 Training in the San Francisco Bay Area. His clients included veterinarians, professional athletes, other high-profile clients, and increasingly, the former clients of other dog trainers.

John soon realized that he had developed a training and business system superior to the majority of what was currently being offered. This led him to form K-9 Advantage (“Where Dogs Send Their People For Training”), the first dog training franchise in the United States.  Through that experience John came in contact with hundreds of people who were investigating how to get into the dog training business so they could turn their passion for dogs into a career. During this time, he visited several schools for dog trainers across the United States and met with the operators of several others to learn about their programs and approaches.

PAWSitive Solutions, his third business, was started with a seasoned business professional with extensive experience in both franchising and career colleges.  PAWSitive Solutions quickly grew to become the largest private dog training company on the West Coast, relying primarily on professional referral, and employing 36 professional, and highly successful dog trainers.

John is a founding member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and has served on their Board of Directors. He has consulted with some of the largest pet care and dog training companies in the United States, helping them develop their dog training programs as well as improve their marketing efforts. John has personally trained over 60 professional dog trainers, many of whom are highly respected and recognized as the most successful in their communities.

John was inspired to organize the Canine Trade Group network after spending nearly 30 years witnessing the dog training profession trend away from high standards and results-based training. Today, John is proud to mentor the dedicated trainers of Canine Trade Group, a network of professional dog trainers committed to the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and results.

Cristin Ellis

Cristin Ellis

Operations Manager

Dog training has always been a huge part of Cristin’s life. She has been training for over 13 years, she started with dog agility and earned two AKC Master Agility Championships (MACH) on her Golden Retrievers, Rocky and Hunter. She has also put several titles on breeds ranging from English Springer Spaniels to Border Collies.

Cristin’s third dog, a Border Collie named Sike! was the reason she became involved in dog behavior. When he was first brought home, Sike! slowly developed a variety of behavior issues, including fear aggression, anxiety, and resource guarding. Cristin pulled out all the stops while researching methods to help her dog, and in the end it was Canine Trade Group that used the most effective methods. She immersed herself in John Van Olden’s training and now Sike! is a happier, more relaxed member of the family. Her newest member of the family is a Border Collie named Elsa who is already showing great promise with her training.

Now, Cristin is starting her sixth year as Canine Trade Group’s Operations Manager, using her knowledge and experience to help other owners find a certified, professional CTG trainer in their area.

Cristin’s Dogs & Their Titles:

Golden Retrievers:

MACH ADHF Nataro’s Rock’N’ Roll MXS MJS OAP OJP NF CGC “Rocky” 9/24/99 to 7/3/12 

MACH ADHF Nataro’s Huntin’ the Gold MXB MJS OF CGC AD “Hunter” 4/30/03 to 12/20/18 

Border Collies:

Lock-Eye Just Kidding OA OAJ NF “Sike!” 



Nicole Zulkowski

Nicole Zulkowski

Veterinary Relationship Manager

Nicole knew ever since she was a young girl that she wanted dogs to be part of her life and career. Throughout high school and college, she worked different jobs that involved animals. Graduating with a BS in Biology from Ursinus College, Nicole began to look for work within the animal care field, and was employed as a veterinary technician and also a dog daycare technician/handler. After working with many dogs with a wide range of behaviors, Nicole was inspired to learn more about how these behaviors form, and also how to treat them.

Canine Trade Group is thrilled to have hired Nicole into the office staff since 2015. Along with her extensive knowledge on canine behavior and psychology, she also shows great care toward dog owners who are looking for ways to solve their dog’s behavioral issues. Nicole undertook the same trainer course that Canine Trade Group’s trainers did so that she could better address client questions, dog issues, and guide everyone to the right training protocol that would suit their needs and goals.

When she’s not busy helping other people and their dogs, she likes to hang out at home with her two dogs, Willow (a Pitbull mix) and Brooklyn (a Boston Terrier/Pug).

Dr. Karen Usselman V.M.D.

Dr. Karen Usselman V.M.D.

On Staff Veterinarian

Dr. Usselman is originally from western New York, attended Cornell University, and then the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated in 1996 and joined Brenford Animal Hospital in May 1996. She is currently a partner with the practice. Dr. Usselman enjoys working with dogs and cats. She is particularly interested in internal medicine, ultrasonography, behavior, and dentistry. She serves as the treasurer of the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association and has taught in the Delaware Technical College Vet Tech program. Dr. Usselman is married to Dr. Jeff Booth and has two children, three dogs, and a cat to keep her busy at home.